Wednesday, January 27, 2010

GSU speaker series to focus on Georgia’s water wars

Diverse voices will address the many issues surrounding Georgia’s disputes about water resources during an upcoming lecture series at Georgia State University.

The university’s Department of Geosciences will present speakers who have different perspectives on the legal, social and physical aspects of the ongoing water dispute between Georgia, Alabama and Florida over water resources in the Chattahoochee River basin, especially Lake Lanier. The series is free and open to the public.

The lectures, to be held at 4 p.m. on the following dates, include sessions with:

· James Bross, professor of law at Georgia State University, who is an expert on water law and the history of the dispute; Jan.28 in Room 718 of the General Classroom Building.
· Neill Herring, a lobbyist with the Georgia chapter of the Sierra Club, who will speak about water conservation in Atlanta; Feb. 11 in Room 316 of Kell Hall.
· Frank Stephens, program analyst for Gwinnett County’s Department of Water Resources, who represents the county’s interests in the ongoing dispute; March 18, Room 316 of Kell Hall.
· David Feldman, professor in the Department of Planning, Policy and Design at the University of California Irvine, who will address similarities between Georgia’s water war with its neighboring states and the famous Los Angeles water grabs of the early 20th century; April 29, Room 718 of the General Classroom Building.

In July 2009, a federal judge ruled that by 2012, Georgia would have to drastically reduce water withdrawals from Lake Lanier to support Atlanta’s water needs to 1970s levels. Georgia recently won the right to appeal the case — part of the decades-long battle between Georgia, Florida and Alabama to settle the dispute.

“The series is timely, particularly given the ruling last summer in the dispute over water resources,” said Jordan Clayton, assistant professor of geosciences, a co-organizer of the speaker series with Katherine Hankins, assistant professor of geosciences. “It’s important to understand what the judge’s ruling is, its impact for Georgia, and the roles of Alabama and Florida in the dispute.”

“We are intentionally presenting speakers with opposing points of view who will provoke discussion in the audience, and who have different perspectives on the way water is being managed,” he added.

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